What NOT To Say During Child Custody Mediation

We often think about what we’re going to say during child custody hearings.

As a parent, you will always fight for your rights during a child custody hearing. You will have logical arguments, and if you’ve hired a child custody attorney, you’ll have legal arguments to back them up. But what are some things you should NOT say throughout the child custody process?

Don’t Bash The Other Parent

While it might be tempting to make defamatory statements about your child’s other parent, it is not advisable to do so. Even if what you are saying is true, it is best to allow the courts to discover any undue behaviors on the part of parents during child custody hearings.

Also, while refraining from making true claims about the other parent, it is not a good idea to make false defamatory claims against them. This is bound to backfire on you and your case.

Don’t Disrespect The Mediator or Judge

While this might seem like common sense, it is sometimes difficult to remain calm when you are in an emotionally charged situation like a child custody mediation hearing. Whether you are coming off a divorce or if your child’s other parent is seeking to change their parenting time, you may be asked questions that are uncomfortable. It is always best to remain professional and courteous when addressing the court.

Remember, a judge in a Michigan custody case is going to focus on what is in the best interests of the child. You should also appear to be acting in your child’s best interests during your hearings.

Don’t Fire Off Disparaging Text Messages

While you should always be on your best behavior during a child custody hearing, your conduct outside of the hearing will also make a difference. Insulting your child’s other parent in text messages or emails is a surefire way to have them brought up in court. While it is also not advisable to be rude or mean in discussion, having a written record of this kind of behavior will not look to be in the child’s best interest.

What Should You Say During Child Custody Hearings?

When it comes to things you SHOULD be saying during your child custody case, your primary focus should be in line with the court’s mandate of “best interest of the child.” Work toward a joint custody scenario that works for you and your child’s other parent. Absent abuse, physical or otherwise, you should be able to come to an agreement with your child’s other parent.

Substance abuse and child custody

What if my child’s other parent is a substance abuser?

Substance abuse is a very real problem. It can impact the life of the addict and also everyone around them. This can include your children. It is obviously not in your child’s best interests to have a parent using drugs or drinking to excess around them. We know we said that you shouldn’t disparage the other parent in a child custody hearing, even if your complaint is legitimate. So how do you handle a situation like this?

Much of this will come down to how you communicate the issue to the court. Rather than saying something like “they are a drunk and junkie and need to be kept away from my child”, you can say “they have a tendency to drink to excess and stay out late on random days, which is not conducive to raising a child.” The court will normally order some type of substance abuse counseling and maybe even supervised visitation for a period of time. No matter how you feel about your child’s other parent, if you are showing that you want them to get help rather than be punished, you’ll seem much more gracious in the eyes of the court.

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